8 FAQs About Traumatic Brain Injury Claims in Florida

February 19, 2020

by Donaldson & Weston

The brain is a delicate organ that plays an essential role in every vital process within the body. Even a minor brain injury can have devastating consequences. Changes in personality, memory deficiencies, problem-solving impairment, and other effects of TBI can make every day feel like fighting an uphill battle. Many victims never make a full recovery, and some are unable to live independently.

If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury due to the intentional wrongdoing or negligence of another party, it may be possible to obtain monetary damages. Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about brain injury claims in Florida:

1. What Damages Might Be Recoverable in a Brain Injury Claim?

Given the exorbitant costs of recovering from a TBI, it is important to investigate all potential sources of obtaining compensation. These may include:

  • Bringing a claim against the liable party,
  • Bringing a claim against the liable party’s insurance company, and/or
  • Bringing a claim against your own insurance policies.

The types of damages that might be available in your particular case will depend on the circumstances. All successful tort claims yield some amount of economic damages, which are objectively verifiable losses such as medical costs, lost income, mobility aids, physical and occupational therapy, transportation, child care, and domestic help.

Non-economic damages can also be substantial in these cases. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of life enjoyment. Sometimes the spouse of the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.

If the liable party’s behavior constituted intentional misconduct or gross negligence, you may be able to collect punitive damages. Such damages might be available, for instance, if you were involved in a collision with a drunk driver, or your brain injury was caused in a violent attack.

2. How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

The two most common methods of calculating pain and suffering damages are the per diem method and the multiplier method. Attorneys who use the per diem method assign a monetary figure to every day until the plaintiff reaches maximum medical improvement. Those who use the multiplier method choose a factor that usually falls between 1.5 and 5, and they multiply that factor by the plaintiff’s medical bills. Because traumatic brain injuries tend to have devastating consequences, the factor chosen in these cases is often fairly high—perhaps 4 or 5.

3. What Qualities Should I Look for in a Brain Injury Lawyer?

Your choice of attorney can have a profound impact on how your case unfolds. Even the most accomplished and tactful lawyers cannot guarantee to secure a particular outcome; however, an attorney with the right experience will know the most effective strategies to employ given the particular circumstances of your case. Here are a few qualities to look for when selecting a personal injury lawyer.

  • Litigation Experience: Your attorney should exhibit a confident knowledge of the relevant case law, statutes, and procedures, and should have extensive litigation experience. A lawyer who is an accomplished litigator may be less likely to suggest that you accept a low settlement if the insurance company refuses to cooperate. Such a lawyer won’t be afraid to file a lawsuit and provide the best possible representation even if that means going all the way to trial.
  • Positive Client Reviews: It’s important to read an attorney’s reviews to get an idea of whether he or she typically provides satisfactory representation.
  • Track Record of Success: The attorney you hire should have a proven record of attaining positive results in catastrophic injury cases.

4. How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Traumatic Brain Injuries are more common than many people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2.88 million people in the United States sustain TBIs annually. Brain trauma costs more than $60 billion dollars each year and accounts for 30 percent of all injury-related deaths.

5. What Challenges Do People with TBI Face?

While the financial cost of a TBI can be exorbitant, the most profound consequences of a severe brain injury tend to be more personal. TBIs can cause a variety of short- and long-term functional challenges pertaining to:

  • Thinking (memory or reasoning);
  • Sensation (sight, hearing, and balance);
  • Language (communication, understanding, or expression);
  • Emotion (anxiety, personality changes, mood swings, aggression, and depression); and
  • Movement (controlling motor functions).

Traumatic brain injury also puts a patient at a higher risk of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain disorders.

6. What Can I Do to Strengthen My Brain Injury Claim?

Here are a few steps you can take that might put you in a more favorable position to win damages:

  • Record everything you remember about the accident immediately,
  • Seek medical attention without delay,
  • Obey all of your doctor’s orders,
  • Start a personal injury journal,
  • Do not discuss your injury or accident on social media, and
  • Do not provide any recorded statements to the insurance adjuster.

7. What Are the Symptoms of TBI?

The only way to officially diagnose TBIs is through a comprehensive medical evaluation. It’s important that you seek medical attention as quickly as possible. A prompt diagnosis and treatment might actually improve your prognosis depending on the circumstances. Also, the longer you wait to visit a doctor, the higher the chance might be that the insurance company will argue that your injury was caused by something else or that you have failed to mitigate the damages.

Sometimes the symptoms of TBI are subtle and gradually worsen over time. Common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Loss of smell or taste,
  • Sleep changes,
  • Confusion,
  • Memory or concentration problems,
  • Behavioral changes,
  • Headaches,
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus),
  • Light or sound sensitivity,
  • Vision changes, and
  • Seizures.

It’s a good idea to start a personal injury journal in which you write daily entries about the symptoms you experience. Make note of the severity and frequency of your symptoms and how they are impairing your daily well being. Such records may help your lawyer build a more compelling claim for non-economic damages.

8. What Are the Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Many people don’t realize that they can suffer brain injuries almost anywhere and doing nearly any activity. Victims can be injured in their house, car, office, or any number of public spaces like stores, supermarkets, and schools. Common causes of these injuries include:

  • Falls and Being Struck by Objects: Falls are the most common reason people suffer brain and other head injuries. Common causes of falls include slipping and falling on wet surfaces, children using unsafe playground equipment, tripping on uneven floor surfaces, workplace accidents, and defective stairs. Strikes to the head from a falling object also result in a high percentage of brain injuries. These accidents are often associated with overstocked shelves at supermarkets, construction tools being dropped or falling through unsafe scaffolding, and equipment or furniture toppling onto young children.
  • Motor-Vehicle Accidents: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14 percent of all TBIs in the United States are caused in motor-vehicle accidents. the country’s TBI cases are caused in these accidents. Bicyclists, electric scooter riders, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and even skateboarders are especially susceptible to brain trauma since they have little protection from impact.
  • Medical Malpractice: Negligent surgeons and other healthcare providers are responsible for a considerable number of traumatic brain injuries each year. Examples of medical malpractice that could cause TBI include medication errors, falls in negligently maintained hospital rooms, birth injuries, surgical errors, and negligent supervision.
  • Acts of Violence: About 11 percent of all head injuries are caused by violent acts.

The specific cause of your TBI will influence how your lawyer approaches the investigation. The kinds of evidence needed to prove liability can vary from one case to the next. For instance, after a car accident, evidence of negligence may include surveillance footage, the police report, eyewitness deposition, and photos of the crash scene. When a TBI is caused by medical negligence, evidence of liability might include medical expert deposition, diagnostic images, and other medical records.

It is important that the lawyer you hire has achieved successful outcomes in cases that are similar to yours. A lawyer with the right experience will know how to approach the investigation, the kinds of evidence needed to strengthen your claim, and the most effective strategies to employ during settlement negotiations.

Call 772-266-5555 to Discuss Your Case with a Brain Injury Lawyer in Stuart

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident and suffered a brain injury, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Donaldson & Weston. We understand the devastating consequences resulting from TBI, and we are passionate about helping accident victims obtain the full compensation they deserve.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in catastrophic injury cases and have won numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts. Call 772-266-5555 or send us a message to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. If you are unable to come to us, a member of our team will come to you.